White-Hat Link Building Strategies

Posted on in Blog

Link building is not a thing of the past. It’s important to amass quality backlinks pointing to your content to increase your domain authority and rank higher in search results. When you get high-quality backlinks to your site from other trusted sites, it signals search engines that your content has value and should be served to users.

What Are White-Hat Backlinks?

Using white-hat tactics ensures your domain remains in good standing with search engines like Google. White-hat link-building strategies usually follow webmaster guidelines and are relatively low risk, meaning you likely will not lose website traffic due to a penalty like you might get from a black-hat strategy. White-hat SEO tactics may take longer to pay off, but their value is more stable.

A white-hat backlink is a hyperlink on a trustworthy domain on a page with relevant content.

What Is White-Hat Link Building?

Building these high-quality backlinks takes a concerted effort that never really ends. In addition to the SEO benefits of consistent content marketing, great blogs, infographics, videos and other digital assets are all opportunities for other domains to find, fall in love with and link to!

White-hat link-building strategies include:

  • Create incredible content to naturally get backlinks.
  • Reach out to those in your industry.
  • Use internal and external broken link strategies.
  • Track down unlinked mentions.
  • Audit competitor backlinks for ideas.

Each of these methods is explained below, with thorough explanations of how to execute a link building strategy.

How to Build Links and Not Be Shady

1. Incredible Content: E-A-T and Link Building

The fundamentals of any good piece of content are expertise, authority, and trustworthiness, otherwise known as E-A-T. If you focus on these fundamentals and use technical SEO to create content that answers your audience’s questions, good things will come – like backlinks from other authoritative websites. The longer you do this, the better you show search engines that your expert content is consistent and can be trusted to fulfill search intent. This means more eyes on your content and more potential for naturally occurring backlinks.

Use multimedia to your advantage to take this white-hat link building strategy further. For example, is there an interactive tool you can build on a blog to answer a query better? What about a video you can embed? Create that tool or video, and you could attract backlinks from other sources who want to answer that same query – but who don’t have the resources to create the bonus features that you added.

2. Outreach: Build Mutual Relationships

Now it’s time to actively build relationships with trusted publishers to earn backlinks. Do some research to understand what other domains your audience turns to for information. Do a deep dive into those websites and find out where they’re linking to (outbound links) and if your content could be a good fit. Connect with their editor and thought leaders on social media, follow their content and look for opportunities to respectfully reach out. The goal is to offer a link to your content that would work perfectly in a specific article they’ve published. Just be sure that the backlink they provide is not tagged as a NOFOLLOW link, which will block the link equity you’re seeking.

To show that you really respect the sources you’ve identified, include some outbound links in your own content that point to theirs. If you’re lucky, you’ll land a mutual link building relationship. Finally, remember that you don’t have to limit your link building strategy to just blog posts. Your news articles, research and service or product pages can get backlinks too, if they fulfill a specific purpose on another domain.

3. Two Broken Link Strategies

Phase 1: Find Their Broken Links. When you’re interested in forming a link building relationship with a particular site, crawl their domain with a tool like Screaming Frog to identify any broken links (404s) on their site. Find out which of their pages are in-linking to those broken pages, and read the content there. If you have a resource that would fulfill search intent for the anchor text of the broken link, reach out to the editor to offer a link replacement! Nobody wants broken links on their website, so it’s likely that your link will be implemented.

Phase 2: Fix Your Broken Links. Perform a backlink audit on your site to see which of your pages have backlinks. Is any of them now a 404? That means the backlink isn’t doing you any good. To fix this, apply a 301 redirect to another page you have that fulfills a similar purpose. Voila!

4. How to Find Unlinked Brand Mentions

If a website mentions your brand but doesn’t provide a link to your website, you’re already halfway to a link. This situation is the perfect excuse to execute a link building strategy: Reach out to them. They already know your brand enough to mention you, and if you educate them more about your services and brand identity, they may give you a backlink now and more links in the future. You can return the favor to them, when appropriate.

How do you find unlinked brand mentions?

Performing a custom Google search is a great way to find unlinked mentions. For example, this search would find sites that mention Oneupweb and would exclude results from our own website:

oneupweb -site:oneupweb.com

You can also do a site search within a specific industry-leading source and look for your brand name. For example, to search searchenginejournal.com for mentions of Oneupweb, we’d use this:

site:searchenginejournal.com “oneupweb”

5. Competitor Backlink Audits

Finally, consider looking to your competitors to execute a link building strategy better. Use a tool like SEMrush to perform a backlink audit of a competitor domain (a domain that competes with you for your top keywords). Which sites are giving them backlinks? Audit that list to determine which of the sources might also provide a backlink to your site. Then follow the link building tips above for mutual relationship building. 

The Benefits of Link Building

We’ve already mentioned how white-hat link building strategies increase your domain authority without risking a penalty from a search engine. This helps your content be indexed more quickly and favorably. Another major benefit of link building is increased brand awareness, whether you just re-branded or you simply want more recognition.

For example, we implemented a link building strategy for a huge family of franchises, Neighborly, in order to increase awareness of their rebrand and increase domain authority for an entire ecosystem of consumer-facing websites. Read the case study to see our methods and results.

Execute a Link Building Strategy with Support

Oneupweb’s content marketing team members are SEO experts. We’re white-hat link building aficionados, and our SEO marketing services go above and beyond link building to increase your domain authority. If you want to increase your qualified website traffic, reach out to us online or call (231) 922-9977.

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